Tag: the lost dogs
As Pit Bull Awareness Month draws to a close, celebrations of the dogs — and books and movies about them — are popping up all over.
Events designed to increase public understanding of, and support for, pit bulls are being held across the country.
And today, author Ken Foster’s book, “I’m a Good Dog“ – a tribute to the pit bull in words and photos — hits book stores.
“I’m a Good Dog: Pit Bulls, America’s Most Beautiful (and Misunderstood) Pet,” tells the history of pit bulls, corrects many of the negative stereotypes they confront, and is filled with inspiring stories and photographs about them.
Foster, the author of ”The Dogs Who Found Me” and its sequel, “Dogs I Have Met,” is founder of the Sula Foundation in New Orleans, which promotes responsible pit bull ownership.
In “I’m a Good Dog,” he profiles pit bulls that serve as therapy dogs, athletic heroes, search-and-rescue dogs, and loving pets, and looks at a few of the famous people who have owned them, including Helen Keller and Dr. Seuss.
Foster is embarking on a national tour for the book, and will be in Oakland this weekend to take part in a fundraiser for BADRAP. October 27 is the fifth anniversary of the arrival at BADRAP of 13 dogs from NFL player Michael Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels who would go on to begin new lives with local families.
Also appearing at the fundraiser will be Jim Gorant, author of “The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick’s Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption and a new book, “Wallace: The Underdog Who Conquered a Sport, Saved a Marriage, and Championed Pit Bulls — One Flying Disc at a Time.”
Of the former Vick dogs that ended up in California, seven hold Canine Good Citizen certificates and three are now serving as therapy dogs in hospitals and children’s literacy programs.
Foster’s tour will contine with stops at Book Soup in Los Angeles and Annabee’s in Pacifica. He plans stops in November in Portland, Seattle, Marin County, New Orleans, Boston, New York, Baltimore, Providence, Connecticut, Ann Arbor, The Twin Cities and Chicago.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 25th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, awareness, badrap, beyond the myth, books, books on dogs, breed discrimination, documentaries, dog books, dogs, events, i'm a good dog, jim gorant, ken foster, movies, myths, pets, pit bull, pit bull awareness month, pit bulls, pitbull, stereotypes, the lost dogs, tribute
In 2007, it was one of the most sickening, disheartening stories of the year — NFL quarterback Michael Vick’s arrest and imprisonment on dogfighting charges. Revelations of what transpired at Bad Newz Kennels showed just how cruel some humans can be.
By 2009, though, the story of Vick’s dogs had become one of the most heartening of the decade. What made the difference? Mainly, the dogs – the pit bulls. For despite what they’d been put through, despite being abused, trained as killers or used as bait, they were — once the decision was made not to euthanize them – amazing the world with their remarkable resiliency.
Saving and rehabilitating the former fighting dogs of Michael Vick was not achieved without a battle, and not without the efforts of a lot of dog-loving, self-sacrificing humans. But the silver lining that eventually shone through the dismal story was provided mainly by the dogs, who showed that, no matter how bad a human messes them up, there’s hope.
Once again, the irrepressible species was teaching us humans a lesson.
Vick’s former pit bulls have gone on to reside in new homes with young children, become cherished pets, serve as therapy dogs and, in many cases, serve as shining examples of what is right with and special about the much-maligned breed.
How all that transpired is rivetingly detailed in a new book by Jim Gorant, “The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick’s Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption.”
(For a preview, you can read an article by Gorant in today’s Parade magazine.)
In the book, to be released next month, Gorant expands on his 2008 Sports Illustrated story on the Vick dogs (the one that featured Baltimore’s own Sweet Jasmine on the cover), recounting how they were rescued from Vick’s estate and how — though euthanasia was routine until then for animals seized from dogfighting operations – they were saved from that fate by an outpouring of public appeals.
The outcry helped lead to a court order that Vick pay nearly a million dollars in “restitution” to the dogs — money used to allow a handful of agencies across the country to rehabilitate them.
The book recounts the ASPCA-led evaluations of each dog — and how, though there were a few hardened fighters among them, many more were dogs ready to be loved, ready to forgive and try to forget.
In “The Lost Dogs,” we learn more about Johnny Justice, the former Vick dog that participates in Paws for Tales, which lets kids get more comfortable with their reading skills by reading aloud to dogs; about Leo, who now spends three hours a week with cancer patients and troubled teens; and about Sweet Jasmine, who was coming out of her shell while living in Baltimore until she got loose and was hit by a car.
The book lists the outcomes for all 49 of the surviving pit bulls that were seized in April 2007 from Bad Newz Kennels, the Smithfield, Va., dogfighting ring run by Vick, then quarterback of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, now — getting a multi-million dollar second chance of his own — a quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles.
While experts were expecting only 5 percent of Vick’s dogs could be rehabilitated, only two, initially, had to be put down. One was excessively violent and the other was suffering from an irreparable injury. For the rest, though, there was hope, and no small amount of faith – which, more than anything else is what “The Lost Dogs” is about.
Rather than showing aggression, the Vick dogs tended to be “pancake dogs”— animals so traumatized that they flattened themselves on the ground and trembled when humans neared, much like our friend Mel, the former Vick dog we recently met in our travels through Dallas.
Many more seemed to be dogs with normal temperaments, but who had simply never been socialized.
Accomplishing that fell to the handful of animal welfare organizations that stepped forward, offering to take the Vick dogs in and work to rehabilitate them — among them Baltimore’s Recycled Love, California’s BAD RAP, (Bay Area Doglovers Responsible About Pitbulls), and Best Friends Animal Society in Utah.
As Gorant writes in the Parade magazine article, “… rescuers argued from the start that rather than be condemned as a whole, the dogs should be individually assessed and treated — and this has turned out to be one of the great lessons of the Bad Newz dogs. Generalizations and preconceptions are as unhelpful and counterproductive for pit bulls as they are for people.”
Posted by jwoestendiek August 15th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animals, article, aspca, bad newz, bad rap, best friends, book, case, court, cruelty, dog books, dog fighting, dogfighting, dogs, euthanasia, good dog reads, jim gorant, lesson, lost dogs, magazine, maligned, michael vick, michael vick's dogs, nfl, parade, pets, philadelphia eagles, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, recycled love, redemption, rehabilitation, rescue, resiliency, saving, socialization, sports illustrated, sweet jasmine, temperament, the lost dogs, therapy dogs, vick, vick dogs